On 1 July 2022 the Gratama Science Award has been awarded during the Ceremony of Merits at the University of Groningen.
The award is intended as an incentive for young, promising, and active scientists, who distinguish themselves with innovative, sensational, and socially relevant research. Every year, the University of Groningen and Leiden University alternately grant the award to a staff member. This year, it is the turn of the University of Groningen.
One of the three nominees this year was Dr Lieuwe Zijlstra, Assistant Professor at our Faculty, University College Groningen. Zijlstra received the runner-up award of €2,500. The award is intended to be spent on academic work.
Zijlstra is an interdisciplinary researcher in the new field of experimental philosophy. His academic career displays both his academically innovative and socially relevant qualities. A typical characteristic of his interdisciplinary research is that he conducts both empirical and philosophical research into topics that are directly linked to social issues, or on our daily life.
In his PhD thesis, he researched whether people are inclined to think that moral judgements are objectively correct or incorrect by combining philosophical research findings with conducting psychological experiments. During his PhD research in Groningen and Ghent, he conducted research at Yale University for a year and a half under the supervision of Joshua Knobe, leader in the experimental philosophy research field. This is a highly demanding field of research. It requires command of conceptual analysis and logic, as well as expertise in empirical research methodology and statistics. Zijlstra is a pioneer in the Netherlands. He is working on academic issues in moral psychology, perceptions of personal identity, happiness and search for meaning, as well as on the topic of moral progress.
In his interdisciplinary lectures at the University College Groningen, he asked students to research the relationship between memory and identity, the subjective experience of happiness in social groups, and the origins of moral judgements.
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